Title: Irish Willow: Essays on Ireland, Volume IIAuthor: Chris ArthurA PenMark Press Booksoft cover250 pp.USD 20.00ISBN 978-1888570465March, 2002Irish Willow is the second Chris Arthur essay collection published by PenMark Press. It continues his thoughtful and lyrical meditations on the world we live in, the actions we take, and the consequences of our existence. Arthur is first and foremost a poet; a poet who has chosen to write in the prose form of the essay. His ability to look deeply, feel intensely, and write compellingly can move the reader to a deeper appreciation of life. As with Arthur's first collection, Irish Nocturnes, each essay is illustrated. (more . . .)ContentsFalling ThroughWillow PatternOn the Face of It Table Manners The Cullybackey Fox-WeaselTakabuti’s TearsWalking Water TransplantationsHandscapes of the Mind Taxidermy Atomic EducationTrain Sounds A Tinchel Round My Father EnvoiCritical acclaim for Chris Arthur’s essay collections:“Arthur meditatively stakes out his own personal space, and reclaims the landscape for the Protestant sensibility, describing a terrain that is at times as immanent with a sense of the numinous and sacred as any Heaney landscape…[it] is an engaging and inspiring read…filled with existential reflections which not only deal with reminiscences of growing up, with relationships, and rites of passage, but with all the complexities of life, with unexpected encounters — not least with language…Inspiringly, Irish Willow manages to catch quite a bit of the ‘uncatchable mystery of being’.” —Irene Gilsenan Nordin, Nordic Irish Studies“[D]on’t underestimate the imaginative qualities of this collection. Look in this direction, and it’s all about wildlife; look over there, and it’s about the politics of contemporary Ireland; switch tack and it’s all about exile and loss and personal identity…Arthur’s text — a challenge to the canonical tyranny of the empowered — is a gracious composition; a weave of contemplative, meditative longing.” —Glenn Hooper, Irish Studies Review“The real value of these intensely absorbing personal meditations is that, somewhat like W.G. Sebald’s Rings of Saturn or Naipaul’s The Enigma of Arrival, they are a genre unto themselves and their apartness from other ways of writing is licensed by the force and eloquence of the writing itself. These [essays] accommodate the most personal and local of memories and the most abstract philosophical musings…They convey the reader into mysterious mazes of association and reflection which are, I believe, unique in Irish writing.”—Denis Sampson, Canadian Journal of Irish Studies“The author — an Ulster-born, Buddhist-influenced, Scottish-educated former Irish game-warden-turned-essayist now living in Wales — must, on the strength of this collection alone, now be counted among the most innovative advocates of creative nonfiction in contemporary Irish writing, and certainly the one most committed to creating a distinctly Irish habitation for the essay.” —James Rogers, New Hibernia Review“I have just finished reading Irish Willow, a book of essays that is so thoughtful and perceptive (think Seamus Heaney’s poetry in prose) that I wanted to underline whole passages, and yet so beautifully produced that I didn’t dare.” —David Robinson, The Scotsman“Irish Willow navigates the philosophical terrain between individual experience and the cultural milieu in which one is born and raised...Arthur’s is at once a poetic, affective and sometimes chilling prism…The collection is an exhilarating affirmation of the act of rumination, both in terms of writing and reading. Arthur’s deft prose and lacerating meditative style provoke empathy, humour, disagreement and no shortage of self-reflection.” —Eóin Flannery, Irish Studies ReviewAbout the AuthorChris Arthur was born in Belfast and lived for many years in County Antrim. He worked as warden on a nature reserve on the shores of Lough Neagh before enrolling at the University of Edinburgh where he took a First Class Honours degree followed by a PhD. He has been widely published as an essayist and poet on both sides of the Atlantic. His work has appeared in The American Scholar,The Antigonish Review,The Centennial Review, Contemporary Review, Dalhousie Review, Descant, Event, The Honest Ulsterman, The North American Review, Northwest Review, Poetry Ireland Review, The Southern Review, The Threepenny Review,The Wascana Review and others. His first essay collection, Irish Nocturnes, was published in 1999.Chris Arthur was Gifford Fellow at the University of St. Andrews and is a winner of the Akegarasu Haya International Essay Prize, the Beverly Hayne Memorial Award for Young Writers, and the Theodore Christian Hoepfner Award.